Craig Hutchinson (56)






(66) Adam Morley


1. Paul Watson

2. Daniel Rowbotham

3. Mark Dixon

4. Jamie Davis

5. Harry Taylor

6. Stephen Oakley (C)

7. Lee Jones

8. Clayton McDonald

9. Craig Hutchinson

10. Chris Dickinson

11. Luke Hogan


12. Daniel Lambert

14. Ashley Lavan

15. Gary Redman

16. Elliott Beddow

17. Lewis Green

Niall Harrison .1

Kieron Megran .2

Joseph Spooner .3

Adam Morley .4

(C) Ian Maddison .5

Joe Grant .6

Daniel Smith .7

Ryan Cummings .8

Peter Brown .9

Sonny Andrews .10

Steven Malloy .11


Lewis Brown .12

Conor Hughes .14

Thomas Iley .15

Wayne Whitefield .16

Jason Scotter .17

Match Report


As football games go, tonight was a brutal affair, full of fouls, injuries, stoppages and yellow cards. I lost count of the yellow cards!! I am led to believe Crook were the winners on that score, edging it with six to Town's four! The away side reminded me of Atletico Madrid; players going into the notebook in organised fashion. The referee didn't help matters but the crowd were vociferous at times. Another superb attendance of 157 were extremely vocal tonight with both sets of supporters getting frustrated with the man in the middle. Despite all the on pitch battles it was an intriguing game to watch even though there was little quality on show. Crook belied their lowly position in the table while Town were suffering from last weekend's hangover. However, Town were much improved in the second half even though clear cut chances were hard to come by. A point was a fair result; neither side doing enough to take the three points on a warm, humid night.


With Barry Oliver away, Graham Popple took the reins and made four changes to the starting eleven. In came Clayton MacDonald, Harry Taylor, Lee Jones and Chris Dickinson. Danny Lambert, Gary Redman and Elliott Beddow were on the bench while Jack Connor was unavailable due to work.


The away side started the game on the front foot and had two chances within two minutes. Joe Grant's effort deflected wide and from the resulting corner, skipper Ian Maddison headed over. At the other end Stephen Oakley headed over from Dickinson's inviting free kick. On four minutes, Paul Watson made a vital close range save to deny Peter Brown and the forward needed lengthy treatment for a head injury.


After a hectic start, the game became a war of attrition. Both Dan Rowbotham and Luke Hogan were cautioned for rash challenges and Steven Malloy received a yellow for appearing on the pitch without the consent of James Lowery, tonight's referee.


On fifteen minutes came the best move of the first half. MacDonald burst through the midfield to play a quick one-two with Hogan and his square ball just evaded Craig Hutchinson inside the six yard box.


Sonny Andrews, who appeared to be carrying plenty of condition tested Watson with a free kick and that was quickly followed with an effort from twenty yards which went wide. Town's best chance came on twenty nine minutes. Dickinson's lay off set up Jones on the edge of the box and his rasping shot looked to be heading for the top corner but Niall Harrison somehow got a hand on it. Harrison will be remembered for his FA Cup exploits while playing for Blyth Spartans.


Andrews was given far too much time to run at the defence and Watson did well to dive to his left to push away the strike. Another soft yellow card was issued, this time to Dickinson for kicking the ball away even though it came a fraction after the referees whistle. The half ended with Daniel Smith shooting straight at Watson.


HT Billingham Town 0 Crook Town 0


At this point, Town would have been happy to take a scrappy 1.0 and move onto the upcoming cup competitions. The second half did see the blues in a better light with Dan Rowbotham getting some joy on the right hand side. Both Jamie Davis and MacDonald saw more of the ball which in turn released Hogan on the left and Jones on the right. Town's back four were rarely troubled but did have a five minute nervy spell after Crook equalised.


On fifty three minutes, Rowbotham headed down to Dickinson who then released Jones inside the box but Kieran Megran superbly cut out the shot. Rowbotham was influential again moments later, an oulet for Dickinson and when the ball came back to the striker he struck it too well and the ball went high and wide. It was third time lucky for Rowbotham when he was scythed down inside the box by Joseph Spooner and he duly went in the book. Up stepped HUTCHINSON to score his sixth goal of the season.


Sensing the game was slipping away from them, the Crook bench made two substitutions and they got their reward within three minutes. Whitefield flighted ball into the box found Morley unmarked to head over Watson for the equaliser.


Cue more cautions, that I lost the will to note them down. Crook are bottom of the disciplinary league and will be ahead on points by some distance!


Town will lick their wounds and nurse their injuries in preparation for the weekends FA Vase tie at home to Willington.


FT Billingham Town 1 Crook Town 1


Graham Hutchinson

Press Officer